Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT), the largest state-based land trust in Texas, has been awarded a $125,000 PLJV ConocoPhillips Capacity Grant to support its grassland protection efforts in Texas and Oklahoma. While TALT is well established in Texas, its strong relationships with conservation organizations across Oklahoma — including the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Farm Bureau, and the Noble Research Institute — make it well positioned to connect with landowners who engage across these groups.
The five-year grant will help TALT extend its reach among landowners, support the negotiation of conservation easements, educate landowners about conservation practices, and foster collaboration with key conservation partners.
“Working lands provide diverse habitats, and are the first step in ensuring stable, healthy populations of any wildlife, including waterfowl and gamebird populations.”
“Working lands provide diverse habitats, and are the first step in ensuring stable, healthy populations of any wildlife, including waterfowl and gamebird populations,” said TALT CEO Chad Ellis. “We’re thankful for the support from Playa Lakes Joint Venture’s ConocoPhillips Capacity Grant that allows us to protect open spaces and ensure working lands remain working — a benefit to birds that extends far beyond the bounds of this grant.”
The PLJV ConocoPhillips Grant Program is made possible through ongoing contributions by ConocoPhillips and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over the last 19 years, PLJV capacity grants have helped to protect, restore, or enhance over 1.5 million acres of habitat, primarily grasslands, and continue to generate results well beyond the expiration of their funding, averaging over 40,000 acres of habitat delivery in each of the last 3 years.
Texas and Western Oklahoma support shortgrass, tallgrass, and mixed prairies that provide habitat for a variety of grassland birds. However, these important grasslands have declined, with about 1.6 million acres of land lost to development in Texas and Oklahoma from 2001 to 2016. Protection of habitat through voluntary conservation easements ensures long-term sustainability of grassland bird habitat.
TALT conservation easements are designed for working lands, allowing for needed flexibility for landowners to manage their property. Technical assistance through TALT will allow for landowners to voluntarily implement practices that benefit healthy bird populations.
“The work TALT is doing goes hand-in-hand with our grassland conservation goals. By providing these grants to organizations like TALT, we are helping to build capacity that will result in more grassland habitat which will greatly increase over time,” PLJV Coordinator Mike Carter said. “This is our third consecutive capacity grant to support land trusts working in Kansas, New Mexico, and now Texas and Oklahoma.”
Texas Agricultural Land Trust is a private non-profit organization founded by farmers and ranchers for farmers and ranchers. As the largest state-based land trust in Texas with more than 250,000 acres under conservation easements, TALT promotes the conservation of open space, native wildlife habitats and natural resources of Texas’ private working lands.